Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY Sports
On January 6th vs. Calgary, Ben Hutton blocked a shot with his left hand. Having been out of the line-up for the past four games, the extent of his injury was unknown. The Canucks announced today that Hutton will be out three-to-six weeks with a small fracture in his hand.
Hutton injury update: He has a small fracture in his hand and his timeline is three-to-six weeks. pic.twitter.com/h8m7kKgrCx
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) January 17, 2017
The Canucks injury list continues to lengthen as they also announced today that Anton Rodin will “Undergo a period of rest” with his knee injury. Navigate here for Ryan Biech’s cover on that story.
News 1130 reported the extent of Hutton’s injury later last week, but the news was not made official until today.
Hearing a microfracture on his hand for #Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton, 6 weeks is the worst case scenario. No surgery.
— NEWS 1130 Sports (@NEWS1130Sports) January 13, 2017
— Vanessa Jang (@vanessajang) January 7, 2017
On January 7th, the late notice of Hutton’s scratch prompted questions about the shot he blocked. Jim Benning spoke of Hutton last week but remained relatively discrete because no official announcements were made just yet.
Benning: “Week-to-week. He wasn’t able to hold his stick like he wanted to. We did some more x-rays and stuff. No surgery. I don’t want to comment right now; it’s more than a bruise. It’s at least week-to-week, and it could be longer.”
In the thick of the hunt for the final wild-card spot, the Hutton news is anything but positive. Three weeks would be considered optimistic for his return. In that time span, the Canucks will be playing the likes of Chicago, San Jose, Minnesota, and Boston. Making matters worse, they will also be facing Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Calgary, and San Jose once again in the following few weeks. The timing could not be worse for a team only a few points behind of a playoff spot.
With Erik Gudbranson and Philip Larsen already sidelined with long-term injuries, three out of the six opening-night defensemen are now out of the line-up. Although having slowed down offensively, Hutton still provided a steady defensive presence in the back-end. More pressure will be put on the young Troy Stecher to generate offence from the offensively-struggled blue-line.
Already displayed in the last four games, Alex Biega will continue to fill in for Hutton’s absence. He will also be eligible for exposure for the Expansion Draft in three games.